Joan Cunningham grew up in Canada and remembers watching people vote the old fashioned way: Fill out a paper ballot, drop it in a box. She understands electronic voting machines can be more efficient. “But my professional life was spent as an epidemiologist. I used, and still do, computers a lot for everything I do. And I have some practical insights into the things that can go wrong, data that can get corrupted or changed or lost,” Cunningham says. She wonders how vote recording errors and even fraud, can be prevented when such machines generate no paper records for backup. Pamela Smith says Cunningham’s concerns are legitimate. Smith is president of Verified Voting, a nonprofit, non-partisan group that examines the role of technology in elections. “People sometimes think software is infallible,” Smith says, “but in fact it’s programmed by humans, and humans are not infallible. So you can have errors in programming. There have been actual errors in programming in past elections that have been uncovered by doing audits and recounts.”
That, Smith says, is one of the reasons for audits and recounts. In those cases, the main benefit of paper backups is providing a physical record of voter intent. It’s as much to reassure the individual voter as it is to provide proof for election officials. And in this unprecedented presidential election, voters are looking for more reassurance.
… So any election system, electronic or paper, is only as reliable as the people running it. Most counties vigorously vet and train poll workers to make sure they administer the systems fairly. Among them, this year will be Joan Cunningham, who asked the question that inspired this story.
Full Article: How Secure Is Electronic Voting In Texas? | KERA News.